Northern Ontario was only given passing reference in the 17 pages of Tuesday’s Throne Speech, says Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli.
“I’m very disappointed. There can’t be anyone in Northern Ontario that is happy with a half sentence in 17 pages,” he said Tuesday afternoon following the speech.
“I would have liked to hear specifics about the ONTC. Maybe that they’ve realized they’ve made mistakes, will hit the pause button and do a strategic review of all assets.” Fedeli said he also wanted to hear the government promise to keep rail freight in public hands.
“That would have changed the scope of Northern Ontario,” he said. “It’s very frustrating.” Transportation needs in the North and improving transportation to the Ring of Fire in Northwestern Ontario were among a list of priorities in Tuesday’s Throne Speech.
However, what that means for the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission remains unknown. Fedeli said the Throne Speech was a real opportunity to acknowledge the government is on the wrong track. Instead, he said it sounded very familiar – like former Premier Dalton McGuinty.
“The Liberals idled the House for 127 days. There needs to be a glimmer of recognition from this government that they are on the wrong track, and need to change course,” said Fedeli. “I’m still waiting to see that.”
Mayor Al McDonald, however, was much more optimistic about Ontario’s Speech from the Throne.
“I am encouraged that there’s going to be a lot of dialogue with municipalities,” he said, referring to a promise for more consultation with communities on issues such as hosting casinos and the location of wind turbines.
McDonald said North Bay wants to discuss concerns such as the divestment of the ONTC and the consolidation of hydro utilities with the province. And he said the city also wants to talk with the province about potential economic development opportunities.
Tuesday’s Throne Speech, crafted by rookie Premier Kathleen Wynne and delivered by Lt.-Gov. David Onley, did offer enough to keep some of the opposition parties at bay, winning the guarded support of the NDP.
The speech focused on several key areas: fiscal responsibility, economic growth and increase employment.
For the rest of this article, please go to the North Bay Nugget website: http://www.nugget.ca/2013/02/19/fedeli-disappointed